Life Crisis: The Perilous Journey of Rohingya Refugees

Extreme violence in Myanmar has forced Rohingya families to flee the state. Homes and fields have been set on fire; family members have been killed and the intensity continues. On 25 August 2017, Myanmar’s military and local militia launched a wave of “clearance operations.” This was allegedly in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army in Rakhine state that turned into widespread violence against civilians. More than 700,000 Rohingya people have fled across the border since August to escape a brutal military crackdown and have poured into Bangladesh. The momentum and scale of arrivals make this the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis. Over 1,400 children have arrived by themselves after witnessing the deaths of their parents and loved ones. Families are in urgent need of life-saving food assistance, water, sanitation, shelter, health and support. The influx of refugees is expected to continue and the small region of Bangladesh does not have the capacity to support them.


I had the privilege of personally distributing donations from my friends and myself in the Rohingya refugee camps. I have gone from dwelling to dwelling helping mainly women with children, older women and children who lost their parents. More than 1500 families received much-needed cash in their life crisis moment.

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‘Women of Strength and Courage’

Encounter the 10 most outstanding examples of women full of courage, strength, love and loyalty. As you will explore and travel through the cities of all these women, you will know how hard their lives are as well as the circumstances that leads them to their ultimate acts of courage and still remain strong. In these stories, you will meet some fascinating, heroic and relentless women who each possess a beautiful story in their hearts which is worthy to share with the world.

Presenting 10 real-life stories which will melt your hearts and inspire bravery in yourselves.

Featured first on my Facebook page: GMB Akash


The day I was born, no one even touched their food, as I was the fourth daughter of my parents. My black skin color made the situation more miserable for them. My three elder sisters were fair, tall and slim. I was clearly a burden for my poor parents, everyone told me that throughout my childhood. Sometimes I heard my mother telling my father that bringing me into their life was a curse. So I started praying to God, almost every day I prayed to make me a little bit fairer, taller and slimmer. My father managed to fix my marriage by giving false promises to the groom. The kind hearted guy married the ugliest girl of our village. Overnight he became the kindest guy of his generation. I was told never to return to home ever again. So my only option was to listen to my kind hearted husband’s every order. I was fearful all the time. A kind of fear every black girl feels about losing her husband. Every day he used to beat me miserably, because of the false promises my father made to him. I always kept quiet as I thought the fault was all mine. One day he threw hot water onto my feet, I remained silent. I couldn’t sleep for countless nights in fear of losing everything that was never mine. One day when I sat to eat, without any warning signs he kicked me from the back. When I fell to the ground, I was awake; I took the stick nearest to me and started beating him, without giving him any chance to attack me. I was beating every single person of my life who humiliated me. Everyone who ripped my soul. No one came to stop me and I saw fear on their faces. I took my son and left that house forever. I never cried for a single time after that. Never prayed to God to make me beautiful, never begged anyone to love me. I work as a labourer. Whenever I see little black girls working in the site, I always smile to them and tell them how beautiful they are. They asked me with surprise ‘how can a black girl be beautiful?’. I tell them, ‘Only beautiful is the person who has a beautiful heart.’ – Monowara


When I first came with my motorcycle to this village, a lot of villagers gathered and surrounded me like they never saw something like this before. People used to show me to each other and said “see the bad women who is riding a motorcycle”. Now many girls from this village want to learn how to ride a motorcycle from me!

I rode a motorcycle before my marriage. Now I work with an international NGO. When I was younger I used to go to school using my bicycle. My husband liked me because I was different from the others. My husband can’t drive so he always sits behind me on the motorcycle! This is very unusual for my village people. But my husband always told me, “never listen to people. “

My husband and my two daughters are always proud of me. One daughter is named Jannat and is 11 years old. My younger daughter is 5 years old. I bought bicycles for both of them with 11 thousand taka which I saved from my salary. My elder daughter goes to school with her bicycle. I always told her that Men and women have the same rights. If a man can ride a bicycle and motorcycle, why you can’t?

I dream that my daughters will be doctor when they grow up. I also bought a big land with my own savings for my daughters so they can open their own clinic after finishing their studies. 

My mother was seven years old when she got married. When I grew up, my mother started her studies with me from class one. We went to school together until class 8 .Then my Mother did not continue her education because of our big family. But she always told me, ” Lucky you have to be independent, you have to do a job and fulfill your all dream “
_Lucky (38)

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‘Our landlord used to call me illiterate. The landlord has a daughter same age of mine. She attended school, college, and then university. I went to work when she went for education. Recently she got married to a wealthy family and her parents gave a lot of dowry. My landlord’s daughter refused to do any job as it does not suit her in-laws status and her parents are bound to give her many gifts all the time.

On the contrary, my salary helps my parents to live in a good house, to buy good foods, the overtime money I earn goes to my younger sisters’ education. The work I am doing is my dignity, I am happy to be illiterate – Monowara (25)


During my birth, my mother died. My parents were from a remote village. So my father could not do anything for saving her life. I grew up with my grandparents and then with my uncle’s family. I was a very brave lady from my childhood. My environment had pushed me to be a brave woman. I did every kind of work that a man does. I took care of our 7 cows. Along with our maid I dried thousands of sacks of rice. I was strong and brave like a man. Our villagers used to say, “You will never get married. Who will marry a girl that is like a man? Who will be her family? No man will live with her!” I was never concerned about those words because at that time my only thoughts were to work for a living and to feed myself as well as and to make my family members happy. I understood at that age, that nothing but work can make people happy.

Proving everyone wrong; I got married when I was 15 years old. I got the most loving husband. I found a dream come true. I have never imagined a life that could be so colorful. My husband was a very loving man. I had never found that much love ever like that which I got from him. But that happiness was really for a short period of time. I got a divorce after 3 years of my marriage. They wanted a child from me, but I could not give them a child. God have not given me that power to conceive. Doctors said I am unable to become a mother. For 3 years I had done everything and eaten
everything people told me about to facilitate a pregnancy.Nothing happened. Finally, making everyone right again, my husband of 3 years left me because I can’t be a mother. When I found my marriage was over I thought my life was over too. It is impossible for me to describe the depth of the pain when you get the most beautiful thing in your life and then lose it again in front of your eyes.

I have never married again, but became a midwife instead. I had been interested in it since my childhood. No one could save my mother. So I wanted to save mothers’ lives. For that, I took training from the midwife of our village. I have been brave since my childhood. From my acts people started to believe in me. They started wanting me in their labor room. They started to feel confident when I am there in their labor room. I saved hundreds of women’s lives. But I am badly defeated again by my fate. I could not save my mother’s life. My adopted daughter whom I was calling ‘Maa’ for the last 25 years left me last month in her labor room. I could not save my mother’s life again- Roksana 60


Before I understood the world around me, I was feed with word like ugly, black, worthless. The more I grew up more I understood the world only see, it does not feel. There is very little value of inner beauty, everything is about skin and color. When I was a child, people do not adore me, they always told my parents to take care of me so I can become little fair. I was always forced to follow someone as role model, as my parents reminded me what an ugly girl could do in her life. When I was a teenager, in my school during award ceremony teachers let only beautiful girl to sit in the front row. Ugly girls like me were supposed to do all the works and sat in the last bench of the class. I grew up frightened and embarrassed by losing all my sense of pride. I lost my dignity in the game of color and beauty. But in this journey, I never stopped being a good soul. No matter how much people hurt me with their words or actions. But I continued to live in a fear that I born with nothing. After losing my husband I was about to die with my twin daughters. They were very young and fragile. I had nothing left. And then one of my relative told me, what would happen to my daughters who exactly look like me. That very moment, I felt different. I questioned myself how I can bring worth in my daughter’s life. That day, that vulnerable ugly woman died to give identity to her daughters. I cannot remember when last time I took rest. I traveled two days alone to arrive here. I did not know anyone, any place and had no idea how I could survive. How an ugly woman could survive and made her way to life. I worked ten years of my life to change my identity. Now I built a house in my village. My daughters are going to the best school. And I have saved a good amount of money for myself. Every time when I go to visit my daughters I tell them, only pretty are the people who have good heart and do no harm to other people. I will never let them to fall in the trap of ugliness of a world which only value skin.
– Afroza (38)


My daughter was 6 years old, my elder son was 3 and a half years old and my younger son was only 5 months old when I moved to Dhaka twenty years ago. I never spent a single penny for myself; I walked mile after mile going from one student’s house to another student’s house to give private tuition on Math. Sometimes I had to walk more than 8 kilometers in one day. Every day I started at 7am and came back home after work around 11pm. Most of the time I did not use any transportation; I did not eat the whole day in order to save money for my children’s education. After an entire day of work, I was exhausted physically as well as mentally and also emotionally drained. But I never gave up my dream!

My father died when I was 13 years old, and I was the elder daughter of my family so I had to look after my whole family. I worked in our field and at the same time I also continued my education. I always told my children about my struggles and how hard I had to work to earn to continue their education. They always gave me hope that they will do their best to fulfill my dream. My children were always keen on learning. They made no demands and lived a very simple life with me!

Four years ago I started this pharmacy with my own income; now I don’t teach anymore. I take care of my family with the income I get from this pharmacy. Now my daughter is a doctor and my elder son is a mechanical engineer. My younger son is studying at Dhaka University. My entire dream came true only because of my determination and hard work as well as the sacrifices I made.

If every woman started working, there would be no poverty. Women can change the entire society as well as their own lives. I always pray to God that I must die while I am working. _ Rakiba Akter 47


After two years I readmitted to my class. My parents were not able to send me to school last two years. I am very afraid to start again. I am going to meet new friends who will be two years younger than me. I have no idea if I will be able to make new friends or not. I am very scared but I really want to continue my education. Today, when I was telling my grandmother that I should not go now, I should go some time later. Then she told me, ‘If I were you, sixty years ago I would run to my school having the chance of going to school. Not everyone gets a second chance, always remember, it’s now or never.’ I am nervous from head to toe but I am on my way. I really hope my teacher will smile to me and my new classmates will accept me as their friend. But if they don’t, I will not give up. I do not want to become someone who lost before fighting the battle of dream.
– Afsana


Ten years ago, I cried vulnerably by sitting exactly here. I cried in fear, in helplessness, in shame. In my fifteen years of marriage life, I never thought my husband could ever leave me. There was nothing painful when I was abandoned by the person I trusted most. I spent that very evening by sitting in our river side. No one knew what was happening inside me, my whole life was crushing inside mychest and I was sitting in silence far from everything. Then I decided to die. It was easier to die than live. I took out our boat, went in the middle of the river, calmly tied my legs with a piece of my torn cloth and jumped. I was my father’s wild girl; he taught me how to swim in very tender age. He bravely told everyone if his girl needed she could cross the river by swimming. But I was drowning. I was seeing death very closely and then I saw the face of my father. At that night, when I was desperate to die, my death father was trying to hold me. I never thought I would try to save myself that moment and wanted dearly to breathe. I had no idea how I was managed to free myself and swim. I managed to save myself from the death which was about to kill me. The fisher men of my village found me before I lost my sense. I was a woman who never went outside of her village in thirty years of her life. In the same day, I took the launch and arrived in the city. I had no idea how to earn, where to sleep, what to eat. I was crying by sitting in this place, when my friend Sufiya came and sat beside me. She looked at me and asked me, ‘What is the price of your tears?’ I become angry and told her, ‘Nothing?’ She wept off my tears, put the bucket above my head and said, ‘Then never cry again.’ It’s been ten years we are friends. Since the day I never cry again. That helpless woman had died in the tide of river, I am now my father’s girl who is able to cross any river or ocean.
– Shormila (mother of Suruj 12) with her friend Sufiya in the right


I have no good memory about my childhood. I do not want to remember what had happened to me when I was a kid. When I open my wound it brings unbearable pain to my heart. I feel pity for me. I feel pity for the little girl who was alone, very alone. People killed my childhood, they torn me into so many pieces that I still could not fix. I was twelve years old. When I was getting dressed I thought, I must be going somewhere to play. My family married me off when I was thinking about school picnic. I was beaten every day for dowry without knowing what dowry actually mean. I asked my husband where I would find dowry, and he had beaten me hard. All they wanted was money to a child. And my family was not able to give them anything.

I gave birth to my daughter when I was thirteen. I hold her like a doll and was afraid if they take her from me to bring any dowry. That was my childhood and motherhood. One of my favourite teachers named my daughter ‘Joyita’. She told me, my daughter will bring ‘victory’ to me, that is the meaning of her name. That did not happen easily. I was kicked out from my house and I had no place to go. Thirteen years old mother and her daughter had no place in this brutal world for one night. Strangely, I had received help from people whom I never knew. Life is so strange that I realized at very tender age. The people I loved most was turned into strangers. My battle was not about surviving. My battle was living in a loveless world and holding my daughter with a heart full of love. I never knew what true love was, what it feels to be loved. But my daughter held me tightly and I told myself I will win for her, I will win to save my daughter’s childhood.

Soon I will finish my university, my daughter Jotiya is in school. This is my world. Every corner of this room is decorated by me and my daughter. This is our parlour and it’s name is ‘Joyita Beauty Parlour’. I work, laugh and dream. People asked me why I am not starting my life newly. I ask them what does mean by new. They elaborately said, new mean a new man, new relationship. I laugh at lot. I have survived ten years of a battle with my little baby. Do I really need to have a new man to give a new meaning to my life? No, I don’t need. If my wound ever heals, may be one day I will find someone, someone who will make me believe in love.
– Sayma (23)


The smile of my father was very peaceful. Even after facing struggle, poverty, illness he never forgot to laugh. Nothing was able to take away his beautiful smile. He was suffering from an illness. I was very young then. Other than praying hard for him I was not able to do anything. Whenever we stayed in hospital we hardly received any hope for him. My family had no idea of a better treatment. I lost my father because we were not able to understand what to do for his treatment. It’s been so many years I have lost my father. But I am trying to hold his smile even now. Whenever I see any little girl is feeding her father in a hospital bed, I stop for sometimes. I see my father there, smiling at me. Sometimes small girls stop me and ask, ‘Sister, do you think my father will be okay?’ With smile, I always say, ‘Of course, he will be. For you.’ Giving hope is as important as prescribing medicine. Sometimes I feel very tired; my toes hurt a lot and shoulder become stiff, sometimes people’s bad behaviours break me entirely, but then I see my father smiling at me from the patient bed. I stand up and continue to serve people. Whenever I am able to treat a father and he goes back to home with his daughter, I smile, as like my father does all the time from very far. Its easier to fight against every disease; we only have to add love and care with the medicine.

– Sabina Yesmin (25)












‘Heroes of Life’ – Part III

‘Heroes of Life’ – are those incredible humans who always find their way to light and love. They had known defeat, suffering, and struggles, yet they possess a beautiful story in their hearts, which is worthy to share with the world.

Sharing 10 real life stories which will definitely melt your heart

Featured first on my Facebook page: GMB Akash


I wanted to join the war in 1971 from the very beginning when it started. But my new bride and my mother did not let me go. That evening, everything we had ended. Suddenly the Pakistani military came with our local Bengali Rajakars (war criminals) who were aiding Pakistan. They killed our neighbors. We all had to hide in the rotten pond in our backyard with my newborn boy. For hours we covered ourselves with the water hyacinth. My newborn died after that day from pneumonia.

After that I joined up as a freedom fighter for the Bengali people. I was only 22. At that age we naturally feel more power in our blood. But I never knew that I was so powerful. I came to know the meaning of my name in our base camp. My name is Hazrat Ali; according to Islam and our prophet Muhammad, ‘Hazrat Ali’ was the greatest warrior. In our camp everyone respected me as a sincere fighter. They always tried to inspire courage for others by saying “we have Hazrat Ali with us, nothing will happen.” I used to stay awake the whole night in hunger. I don’t know how many nights I didn’t sleep or how many days we didn’t eat but I never felt tired. I fought for our country till the war ended. Once I got caught by the Pakistani military. They tortured me severally and I thought, “I am dead”. They threw me in a river with other dead bodies. But if God wants to save you no one can do anything. God saved my life.

I fought for the freedom of my country but no one cares about me now! Now I am a rickshaw van driver. With these hands I fought for our country and now I have to fight for a living. I have two sons but they never do anything for me. They don’t even come to see my wife and me. I get nothing in my life; I never got any allowance from the government. I went to many offices with my evidence of having been a freedom fighter but I still have never received anything. I got tired of visiting offices and showing my evidence when nothing happens. Imagine how I felt when I saw this news article online, ‘Many fake freedom fighters receiving govt allowances’.

At my age it’s very difficult for me to ride a rickshaw. I feel we fought for nothing. We even could not free ourselves from poverty. – Hazrat Ali (69)


My father always said, “Only your education can bring light into our poor lives.”

My father has been selling street food (Chotpoti) for the last 25 years. He used to earn very little and with that little bit of income he had been maintaining our family and my education. We always had a crisis situation in our family. My mother got by for months and months wearing only one cloth. But even though, we lived in a slum my parents never let me miss my school for a single day. My mother always told my father “one day our daughter, Moina will get a good job and she will never let you go sell street food anymore.”

My mother always inspired me to continue my education even when several times I wanted to start working in a textile factory because of our family’s daily crisis. But she never allowed it. She, herself worked as a maid but never let me stop my studies.
Now my father is 60 years old and he gets sick all the time. His income is not sufficient to run our family. For the last three years I have been working at a NGO’s school as a teacher. Besides my job I am completing my graduation from college. Whatever I earn from my job I continue my education and also with that money I cover my family expenses. I also take care of my younger brother’s education. Besides my job, I also give tuition classes to 5 children.

I always feel very proud of my father. I am proud that he is a street food seller. I also give free classes to slum children so they can be educated and help their parents. Only education can bring light into this dark place. _Moina Akter 20


During my birth, my mother died. My parents were from a remote village. So my father could not do anything for saving her life. I grew up with my grandparents and then with my uncle’s family. I was a very brave lady from my childhood. My environment had pushed me to be a brave woman. I did every kind of work that a man does. I took care of our 7 cows. Along with our maid I dried thousands of sacks of rice. I was strong and brave like a man. Our villagers used to say, “You will never get married. Who will marry a girl that is like a man? Who will be her family? No man will live with her!” I was never concerned about those words because at that time my only thoughts were to work for a living and to feed myself as well as and to make my family members happy. I understood at that age, that nothing but work can make people happy.

Proving everyone wrong; I got married when I was 15 years old. I got the most loving husband. I found a dream come true. I have never imagined a life that could be so colorful. My husband was a very loving man. I had never found that much love ever like that which I got from him. But that happiness was really for a short period of time. I got a divorce after 3 years of my marriage. They wanted a child from me, but I could not give them a child. God have not given me that power to conceive. Doctors said I am unable to become a mother. For 3 years I had done everything and eaten
everything people told me about to facilitate a pregnancy.Nothing happened. Finally, making everyone right again, my husband of 3 years left me because I can’t be a mother. When I found my marriage was over I thought my life was over too. It is impossible for me to describe the depth of the pain when you get the most beautiful thing in your life and then lose it again in front of your eyes.

I have never married again, but became a midwife instead. I had been interested in it since my childhood. No one could save my mother. So I wanted to save mothers’ lives. For that, I took training from the midwife of our village. I have been brave since my childhood. From my acts people started to believe in me. They started wanting me in their labor room. They started to feel confident when I am there in their labor room. I saved hundreds of women’s lives. But I am badly defeated again by my fate. I could not save my mother’s life. My adopted daughter whom I was calling ‘Maa’ for the last 25 years left me last month in her labor room. I could not save my mother’s life again- Roksana 60

Rubel 25

When I was a kid, people used to mock me all the time. Everywhere people saw me they would point at me and say to each other, “see,there is a dwarf coming.” They always made fun of me. It was very hurtful for me. I never hurt anyone to my knowledge, but everyone has hurt me by their words and actions. I was always shy and nervous to go close to people. I had no friends when I was a child. Nobody wanted to mingle with a dwarf. My parents were also ashamed of me because I am a midget. I could not find a better profession than working in the circus. When I got to know about this world, I wanted to be a clown to make people happy. There’s a lot of freedom in this rock and roll world of circus. Its where, all my freakishness goes away. It’s the best world for me to live in. Now If I can bring smiles to people’s faces then I feel very happy. I don’t think anyone thinks of us as artists or actors; they only think we are clowns! -Reaz

Faijuddin Molla 80

I see thousands of people every day. Waves of people come and go. So many kinds of people I see and I think that I am the only one who has no one. I am the only person who has been suffering loneliness from the very beginning;I am an orphan. I never saw my parents. I think I am the unluckiest person alive who has no one. Every day I pray to God to take me to him. He already took everyone from me; why is he not taking me to them? This life is unbearable now. Without having anyone no one can survive. I have no one to talk to. I don’t know how many days have passed before talking with you. I don’t go outside in the day light. People don’t like to see me. They think I am the cursed one; for me all my family members have died and I am the only one who is alive.

My wife died giving birth to our second child. My daughter and I raised him with a lot of struggle. My daughter was also a little kid;she was only 8 years old. But what happened after enduring this much hardship for my son? He died in his 22nd year. I could not even marry my son with someone. He died in a bus accident. My daughter died the year after my son had died and left her 6-year-old daughter with me. I was only surviving for Sonia; Sonia my granddaughter. She was my everything. For the last 18 years she was my night and day. She was a beautiful and happy girl. I never knew she was in so much pain that she needed to commit suicide in our room with her scarf. I never knew! She never said anything to me! I never could feel her pain. People say I am cursed.Sometimes I think they are right; if not, then why would I not be able to understand my Sonia’s pain? How could I let her do that? She died because of her love. That man used to come sometimes but I never talked to him. He used to come and sit beside me and cry like a child.

I have been living alone for the last 4 years and waiting to see my last day. I don’t know what God wants from me. Why in this crowded world have I no one? For me being alive is a curse now. – Faiz Uddin Molla 80

Abul Hossain 72

I am definitely a happy person. In my life I have never been a negative person. That one thing reinforced my life and made me happy forever. I have never had regrets about anything. I always let everything go that I can’t hold. Whatever I did in my life I always felt blessed about it. I found happiness in every little thing I have ever done. I believe that, we can never love anything in life if we can’t appreciate the small things.

I remember the next day of our marriage; my wife and I went to the river together in the neighboring village to bathe. She was swimming in the little lake beside the river. I had never seen that much happiness in anyone’s face before, like I saw in her face and eyes that day. That was the best memory I can recall now. There are several memories like this and they are priceless.

My lovely wife Rina is the best gift I found in my life. She always tries to be close to me when I return from my work. Villagers make fun of my wife calling her a cuddling cat. She is very passionate with me and loves me unconditionally. For the last 45 years she never went to her parents’ home leaving me alone. When she conceived for the first time she was at her parents’ house for nine months and insisted that I also had to be with her that whole nine months in her parents’ home. That was a little silly for me but I was really happy for that; she can’t live without me for even one day.

I am a small businessman who sells wooden furniture. Whatever I earn with that I can survive happily with my family. I have two beautiful children who love and respect me a lot. My family members never wanted anything more than what I could afford. You don’t need too much to be happy. Life is beautiful if you see happiness in every little thing. I have learnt from life, ” if you don’t want too much from life, life gives you so much.”-Abdul Hossain 72


Last evening after my factory job I went to buy a veil for myself because I was not feeling protected with my dress any more. I had been saving money for the last year to buy my veil because I was not feeling safe in my everyday attire.

For the last three years I have been working in that factory to support my family. Living in a slum is very difficult for young girls. I have to face inappropriate teasing and sexual harassment almost every day. Every day on the way to my textile factory, young boys and men look at me in a very bad manner. They behave in a way as if it is their right to look at me badly and to use abusive words because I am a slum girl.

When I wash my hands and face in the morning, every single man who passes by gives me a bad look. They try to see my whole body with awful bad intentions. Sometimes, in my mind I think about poking their eyes but I can’t do it because they are men and stronger than us. They can harass us but we can’t even protest. They look at us as if we are not wearing anything. I don’t understand why they look at our chests like we are not wearing anything.

We have no privacy here. People can see us no matter what we are doing; even resting inside our room. We have no windows so we have to keep our door open all the time during the day. At night I am always afraid that somebody enters our house and does terrible things to us. There have been many nights when I never closed my eyes. Every single sound of a man worries me during whole nights -_ Shumi


I have been terribly worried for the last nine months. My only daughter is almost 45 years old. She was trying her whole life for a baby but God was not with her. But she never gave up on her hope nor on God. She has had 5 miscarriages. Doctors told her not to try again because that many miscarriages is not good for her health. But she almost dedicated her life to having a child. My son-in-law is a very kindhearted and obliging to my daughter.

I am going to see my grandson today. I am so excited that my younger son who is taking me to see my grandson has been telling me to eat something since the morning. I don’t want to go eat then I might miss the train or I might get left behind. I will eat something when I see my grandson. Baba, I never have felt this happy ever before. Please pray for my grandson. I am counting every second to reach to him.- Johura Begum (80)


My father died in a road accident 6 years ago which left us on the street. For several days we ate nothing. We had no money and no rice at our home. We could not pay the rent of our one room house. My mother then started working in this brick breaking factory after only a few days of my father’s death. She was not even physically and mentally ready after losing my father. Her eyes were still wet for her loving husband. I saw her crying every night holding my younger brother.

We had nobody else. My father and mother had a love marriage so their families did not accept them. They came to Dhaka in order to survive and my father started riding a rickshaw. But after my father died, my mother alone could not earn enough money, even when she worked from early morning to evening. I saw how she suffered every evening with her body pain. I could not stand to see her struggle alone and I started working with my mother when I was only 6 years old.

My mother cried loudly holding me on her chest the first day I went to work beside her. She never wanted to take me with her to work there. My father always had a dream to send me and my younger brother to school.

I could hardly break 30 bricks a day and could only earn 30 taka on the first day. But now I can break up to 125 bricks and earn 125 taka per day. With my income, I am able to continue to pay for my younger brother Rana’s education. He is a very good student and this year he came second in his class.

For the last 6 months I have been working extra hours to earn more money. Two days ago with this money I bought a new bicycle for my brother, so he can go to his new class and tuition with the bicycle. Before that he used to walk a long distance and he got tired. My brother said when he grows up, he will get a job and he will never let me work here anymore. _Rotna and her mother Rina Akter


It feels like I’m a king when I travel on the roof of the train. I feel so free and happy with my other friends. During the whole day we travel on the top. In the last six months I have travelled to lots of places. I never knew there were lots of places to go to. My friends make fun of me calling me a frog from a well and laugh. I don’t know what that means but this makes me laugh when they call me Bang(frog ).

After my father’s death my mother left us with our uncle and went to Saudi Arabia to work. My mother sends money for us but they don’t feed us food properly. My sister and I were working like donkeys every day. They beat us without any reason. Every day it was a punishment to be with them. They were not this cruel when my father was alive. That day my aunt was beating my sister and grabbing her hair. I asked my sister, Sanjida to come with me while I was escaping from that Hell but she refused. She is 4 years older than me. I think she is a fool because except for crying she can’t do anything. She was also crying the moment she was giving me her all money: that which she was collecting for herself for a long time. I didn’t want to take it but she forced me and placed it in my pocket. I lost all that money the very first night while I was sleeping on the station platform. I don’t know how much money there was. But I can say, my pocket was full of it. I never cried so much before that day when I found out that I lost my money.

Now I am working as a porter and what money people give me is enough for my living. I am happy;at least I am not in that hell anymore. For the last 2 months I have been sleeping with my street friends in the pile of jute bags and it’s really warm. For the last couple of days, I haven’t gone to ride the top of the train. When the train runs in the cold wind your bare body feels like someone is cutting your skin with a knife.

I miss my sister. Every night while I try to sleep I miss her. Whatever good food I eat sometimes, I miss her. I am worried about her and I feel sorry for her. Maybe because of me she has to work double! Sometimes I think about returning home for her and taking her with me. I wish I could take her out from that Hell one day. – Sakib 8

One on One Photography Workshop with GMB Akash (Part I)

Almost two years ago, I developed a One on One, personalized workshop for individuals who came to Bangladesh from all over the world to participate. Each of the 11 photographers with whom I’ve worked so far, have come to me with their specific goals and aspirations.

It has been an extraordinary opportunity for international participants and for me to intensely share different perspectives, cultural and aesthetic viewpoints as well as to have unusually rewarding experiences in the unique and colorful Bangladeshi culture. This workshop has provided some rare and thought-provoking photographic results by the participants who have been challenged to achieve their personal objectives.

Each of the 11 photographers with whom I’ve worked so far has come to me with their specific goals and aspirations.

Meet three of those participants here exhibiting their work and discussing their experiences during the One on One workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Sharing 3 students’ work







Lorrie Dallek came from Atlanta, Georgia, USA to attend the ‘One on One workshop’ with me in Bangladesh. She has been doing photography for more than 10 years professionally concentrating on social documentary and has been travelling continually to feed her passion. She wanted to explore photography from a different perspective which has brought her to take part in this customized photography workshop with me. The workshop has assured her of the perfect combination of practice and theory leading to a progressive improvement of her pictures and giving her a profound experience within a professional environment.







Mahesh Krishnamurthy came from Indonesia to attend the ‘One on One workshop’ with me in Bangladesh. He has travelled to more than 100 countries and his passion for photography has brought him to Dhaka to participate in this in-depth workshop.







Volker Eichhorn, an engineer, came from Germany to attend the ‘One on One workshop’ with me in Bangladesh. He started photographing at the age of 15 with a fully mechanical SLR camera. At the end of 2006 he moved to Switzerland and until 2015 he was mainly focusing on travel photography: landscapes (panoramas) and people. Confessing to being shy in approaching people for photos, he was shooting them from some distance with a longer lens. Therefore, his principal reason for selecting the ‘One on One’ workshop with me was to broaden his scope and learn more about approaching and shooting people in a natural state while they were working or doing something at home or just resting. With the workshop’s combination of theory and practice and with intense discussions of his work in the field, Volker was able to progressively improve his shots of people giving him the confidence and skills to help him attain his goals.


To check other participants’ work visit my workshop website:

If you are interested in joining this exclusive program send an email to receive further details to

About the workshop: The focus of this customized program is to teach photography going beyond boundaries. Each student will have exclusive access to me through the duration of the workshop, giving them the opportunity to take advantage of my work experience, teachings, and methodologies. Each workshop is six days long and set in locations that are rich in culture with a wealth of photographic and documentary subject matter.


‘Heroes of Life’ – Part II

‘Heroes of Life’ – are those incredible humans who always find their way to light and love. They had known defeat, sufferingand strugglesyet they possess a beautiful story in their hearts, which is worthy to share with the world.

Sharing 10 real life stories which will definitely melt your heart

Featured first on my Facebook page: GMB Akash


Every day it was my task to wait for my father in the evening. I waited, and waited for him to arrive home from our village market. When he returned with his happy face, my first question was “what did you bring for me today?” As always the reply was with another question, “who will bring you sweets every day when I won’t be here anymore?” I used to always laugh at his questions and replied “who? You don’t know who my husband will be!” I don’t remember my mother; I lost her when I was only two years old. My father is the only one who took care of me the last six years of his life. After that my aunty took me with her as a servant.

How time flies! We have been together for the last ten years. People say we are a very happy couple. We were actually very young when we first met. This is our love marriage. I met him first at my aunt’s house when he was there for a job. I first saw him when I opened the door. He was looking at me and unintentionally I smiled at him and fortunately he smiled back. I can’t explain that heavenly moment when I fell in love. From that day on he started coming in front of our house every single day. I could see him waiting at the grocery shop in front of our house from our veranda. After a month I managed to talk to him with my cousin. I could not stop myself from asking him why he came every day in front of our house and waited looking at our veranda? He didn’t answer my question but rather asked me another question, “will you marry me?”

I have no regrets even though we are very poor. We have almost nothing except a bed. Together we earn a very little amount of money but we are never hopeless about our earning and our life. We understand each other completely. The most valued part is that we love each other unconditionally. We help each other in our tasks. He helps me even with my household work. He takes cares for our daughter when I work. When I go to take bath in our nearby river he always comes with me for my safekeeping. He always pays attention for us even if I do something silly. He helps me in every possible way. Our slum’s women are surely jealous of me. I am certainly blessed with him.

My only regret in my whole life is that my father could not see how happy I am with my husband. I cry almost every night going to sleep that my father could not see my happiness. How lucky I am finding a husband who cares for me like parents care for their child. Our God is so kind that he gave me my husband. You know what? He always brings sweets for me and puts them under my pillow. When I cry for my father in the night, he gives me one in my hand like I am a child crying for sweets. This makes me cry even more. I love this man more than my life. _Sonia and Arif.


I still remember the train accident two years ago. I can still remember the fear and panic that I felt. It was Friday. My father and I were returning home after finishing our last prayers in Tongy on the top of the train. I was searching for my father. I was searching for him urgently because some people were saying a man fell from the train indicating where my father was sitting. I was so worried and was trying to find him. Suddenly someone pushed me from behind and I fell off the train. I still remember every single moment of it. It took 2-3 seconds and I was under the train. I lost my leg on the spot. All my dreams about my life and every hope of my parents’ well-being vanished while I was under those iron wheels. All I was seeing was the bottom part of the train. The train passed over me and it grabbed all my dreams with it.
After that, I was lying on the train tracks for some time. It felt like I was lying there forever. I was crying and screaming madly. I kept on screaming until my mouth went dry. I was screaming for help. There were thousands of people but no one came to help me. I lost consciousness in just a few minutes. Later I found out that our military team had sent me to the hospital.

I was the only hope of support for my parents though I have four more brothers. They all are married and they never bear any of the expenses for our parents. I was the only one who was working for my parents since childhood. Lying on the hospital bed my only thoughts were what will I do now? How I will feed my old father and mother? How will I bear all our expenses? Who will give me work? Before this accident I used to work more and earn more than ever before. I was more energetic and more stable. But after losing my leg it will certainly be hard for me to work and climb the heights of these ships for painting. Nowadays it’s truly tough for me to continue this work with one leg. I feel pain in my only leg. It’s very difficult to balance on one leg and work hard the whole day. I earn very little for my disability. Lots of people told me to become a beggar. In Bangladesh this is easier and more profitable for disabled people. But my heart never would let me do that. In begging there is no self-respect. I could never do that. But I want to earn enough money for my family. My only wish is to insure that my family is eating three times a day_Sagor- 20.



When we are able to cook something good, I always hide it from my wife, Buri, and take some to my son. In the moment, it is impossible to stop thinking about my son, Afjal. But Buri always catches me when I go to my son’s house to give them food. My son lives separately, opposite our house, with his wife and son.

Last week I caught a big fish from our Kaliganga River. I can’t remember the last time we ate a large fish. Nowadays I can’t go fishing due to my chronic health condition and cold I’ve had for a while. At my age, I am not able to do any work. Sometimes my wife and I go fishing together. Most times we catch a few tiny fish and then collect vegetables from the riverbank. This is how we’ve been surviving for the last few years.

After cooking that big fish, I secretly tried to take two large pieces to my son, but my wife caught me and started yelling at me.

“You have no shame! When will you feel some shame? They never send anything to you; they never visit you for months. Why do you need to share with them every time I cook something nice for you?”

Yes I feel shame. I feel terrible shame at lunchtimes when I smell chicken or beef being cooked at my son’s house. At those times my wife looks me in the eyes and I am unable to swallow my food. She knows that I love to eat chicken and beef. My son and his wife never share anything with us. Afjal never cares how his mother and father are surviving in their old age, all alone. And we live just steps away from their house.

But I have no regrets. I always pray to Allah that my son and his family will have a wonderful, blissful life – that they should never suffer for want of food or love. I pray too that when they are old, their children will love them, unconditionally. – Amser Mia (80 years old)


It always felt bizarre to me when my mother sent me to go to door to door asking for salt, chili, onion every day. It was almost impossible for us to cook without collecting spices from neighbors. Believe me, when I used to ask them for salt sometimes, from their looks it felt like I was asking for their heart or kidneys. Why shouldn’t they react? They were also poor and they knew that I had no ability to return their salt and chili that I was taking from them almost every day.

My mother is really old now. She is having a lot of physical problems. I drive a rickshaw the entire day so that I can manage to send her 4-5 thousand taka in money every month for her medicine and food. Between my jobs I try to pray for my mother 5 times every day. I never skip my prayers to God for my mother. My father died and left me along with my four other sisters when we were very young. I have been working the last 20 years for my family. I used to make only 15 taka a day when I was merely 9. I wished to grow up every day. I wanted to grow up in order to earn more money for my family. I have given marriages to my two elder sisters and my two younger sisters are going to school. I wake up every day at dawn for morning prayers and it helps me to drive the rickshaw for some extra hours and with that extra money I try to help with my sisters’ education. I could not go to school but I am trying my best to fulfill their own expectations for reading and studying as much they want. For that I can work every day some more hours.

I have nothing without my mother. My mother is everything to me. I visited my mother last month and took her a green saree. She loves wearing the color green. She never told me she loves green. But from the very beginning I have been seeing her wearing green sarees. You can’t imagine how happy she was seeing that saree. Her condition is not good at all. I don’t want to lose her too. She is the only umbrella over our heads. I always pray to God to please take me before her death because I might not bear the pain of losing her. – Nurun Nabi 30.


Falling in love is one of the most beautiful, rewarding and scariest things you could ever do. When you fall for someone, you can’t think of your life for a second without them! I met him at the bathing-place on the bank of the river near our house where I used to bathe since my childhood. He was the new shopkeeper of the shop beside the dock where we go. The first moment I saw him, I fell in love. It was not as if I just liked him, I was sure that it was love and he was the man I wanted to be with my whole life. I was shy and confused to let anyone know about the situation I was going through. But always inside of me there was something missing. It was like I was missing him every moment, everywhere, whatever I was doing.

Without any reason I started visiting the nearby road where the shop was located. I started buying unnecessary things from the shop or taking baths two or three times a day so that, while going or coming back from the river I could see him. I remember, one day while having lunch after coming from the river, my mother said to me, “I think you are sick and I am thinking of taking you to the hospital. Why are you taking so many baths a day? I don’t think this is normal!” Those words made me laugh so hard that I could not finish my lunch and she became confused again. I was thinking to myself, yes I am sick; sick for that man I love. I have no idea; how time passed by. Those six months felt just like a dream. Besides him, everyone knew that I loved him. I was wondering how this could be possible that he doesn’t know how much I love him. One day while returning from school, I was searching for him inside the shop but he was nowhere. Suddenly from behind me he asked, “are you looking for me?” I didn’t answer. I just smiled looking at his beautiful face.

We had to fight a lot and for a long time in order to be together. My father was committed to his younger sister to marry me with her elder son. But I fell in love with my Shaiful and we were both in love. He told me several times to fly away with him. But I didn’t want to fly with my father’s reputation and everyone’s belief in me. I was the elder daughter of my parents. Though I was intensely in love I didn’t forget the responsibility of my family. I promised him that I will be with him no matter what but I could not fly. I told him, no one can be happy without their parents’ blessings. He kept faith in me. I wanted to marry him with my father’s permission and blessings on us. We waited to manage our family for 2 years. Finally, after a lot of storms proving our dedication and honesty, they allowed us to marry and approved our relationship.

We learned in our lives, if you wish for something, God will give it to you. You have to believe in your hope and stick to it. That’s why we named our daughter; ‘Iccha’ (wish). She is only 25 days old. We are very happy because of our daughter. We wanted a daughter from God and God granted our wish. God is always with us. We are so grateful to him. -Bilkis and Shaiful


The last two days my two-year-old daughter, Najifa has been suffering from a high fever. We have nobody to take care of her while I am working. I always keep her on the ground near my working place while I am working, so I can keep my eyes on her. Today she is very sick, so I am trying to give her time between my job duties. I did not want to come to work today but if I don’t work how I will manage to get food for my little daughter? Yesterday I could not take her to a doctor because of the lack of money. What I earn after a whole day of work is nothing and the owner only pays at the end of the week. For carrying 1000 bricks they pay 100 taka. During the entire day I can carry only 500 bricks. I start at 5 in the morning every day. This job is so very tough and brutal.

Every day I suffer from the pain in my legs, arms and my whole body and because of this I can’t sleep at night. I never feel like waking up in the early morning but when I think about my child, I can’t be in bed after 5 in the morning.

Najifa’s father was a rickshaw puller and he died in a road accident 6 months ago. During the last six months we had no idea how to survive. I begged door to door with my daughter. Last month I came to Dhaka to work in the brick field. I never like begging; there is no respect for people who beg. I wanted to do some work, but in our village there were no opportunities for working.

I want to give a good life and education to my only daughter. When I see the face of my daughter, I feel the courage to live for another day. I will work harder and will educate my daughter so she will never need to beg from people. _ Tajmin 21


For older people who are alone, winter nights are a curse. It is very difficult to sleep in the night. Last year I was almost dying because of the intolerable cold. Every single night I was suffering from the cold. It is our habit to sleep beside our spouse and we never know what the value of our life partner is when they are with you. My wife died two years ago because of her sickness. From then on, I am now living alone. The truth is, there are many things we fail to realize the value until it’s gone.

I found Lalu and Dholu two months ago in a dustbin. Some children were playing with the newborns and I rescued those newborns from those kids. I searched for their mother for several days but could not find her. Since then they are with me and became the children that I never had before. People laugh at me because I carry them on my lap. They go everywhere with me. They never left me for a second and I never leave them. One day, I took them to the nearby sweet shop and the manager asked me angrily, why I was bringing my dogs there and I was not allowed to enter the shop. For the last 20 years I have been eating sweets from that shop so then I corrected him. I replied, “They are not dogs they are my sons. If they can’t eat from there then I don’t want to eat either.’’ The manager laughed at me and let me enter.

This winter I am not feeling so very lonely and cold. My Lalu and Dhaalu sleep beside me. I sleep in the middle. I am feeling blessed nowadays because they are in my life. I feel more energetic and happy. Every night I go to sleep playing and having a full conversation with them and in the morning they wake me up. They changed my life, they really did. Now I have found hope for which to wake up in the morning. It feels like I am becoming a child again. Sometimes I really feel worried thinking this. What if they leave me; what will I do? How I will survive without them? Loved ones makes you dependent on them and you can’t do anything about it. – Ismail Mia 80


I fell in love with her the very first moment I saw her. Every relationship needs to start with love at first sight. For my story, it was me. I loved her and I was sure about that. I wanted to marry her and wanted to live happily ever after. She was so beautiful and charming. But I was afraid; she was 13 years younger than me. Her father revealed to me that she was not interested in our marriage and that her parents had forced her to marry me.

I believed in love, I believed in marriage and in her. She left me after two months of our marriage. She didn’t understand my love for her. Still I remember that evening. That day, I returned home from work a little early so that I could take care of her because I was worried about her health for the last couple of days. She was not eating nor behaving normally. I came back from work and discovered that my newly married wife Sahinur was gone and had left with another man. I was looking for her everywhere but nobody saw her again after that evening.

For the last 30 years I have been living alone and never got involved with anyone again. I work here from early morning to evening and I sleep alone in my 8 ft by 8 ft rooms. After that incident with my wife, my parents wanted to arrange marriage for me several times but I could not trust anybody anymore. It’s better to be alone than to pour your trust into a bottomless basket. I have forgiven her, but I cannot forget._ Deloyar Hossain 60


I have been hated by people from the very first moment of my life. No one has ever told me I am beautiful. Birth is always a special and blissful day for people but in my situation it was exactly the reverse. My parents were expecting a son as they had been hoping for the last 4 times. But proving their expectations wrong every time there was a girl. We are five sisters. But in my case it is even worse. I had been born as a cleft lip girl. I could not make anyone happy but shocked them instead for my birth. From that day onward my parents’ life became more challenging.

I went to school for two years and that is the worse chapter in my life. I always felt ashamed to go outside of our home. People used to laugh at me and mock me. But my parents wanted me to go to school with my sisters. I never wanted to go to school. My classmates would never sit with me on the same bench. I always had to sit alone on the last bench. No one ever played with me during the tiffin period. No one talked to me. I had no friends. How could I? I was a very scary thing for them. I could see in their eyes how frightening I was for them because my lips were split from the bottom of my nose to the end of my lower lip. I stopped going to school when I understood people were not accepting me easily. I started staying in our room rather going outside. I stopped visiting and talking with anyone. I was becoming very abnormal and frustrated.

Understanding my situation, my father wanted to do something for me. My father is a day laborer. It was almost impossible for him to do my operation because we would need a lot of money. My family collected money from door to door in our village. Our villagers realized my problem and helped my father by giving money. I had my operation three years ago. I feel much better these days. I work with my father in the field. But after all this, my family does not feel secure about my future. My four elder sisters got married at very young ages. But my parents are really worried about me and believe that no groom will be coming to see me because of this problem. They think I am not beautiful _Sonia- 15


Every day while taking a bath I remember that day. Five years ago, my wife and I went to Cox’s Bazar after getting married and stayed for one night in a hotel room. That one day is the first and the last time I ever used my own bathroom. I took a shower three times during that day even though it was a winter season. My new bride thought that I was a crazy man. But I could not resist to do so because of the gorgeous bathroom and the unlimited amount of water.

We are living a life of five taka, brother. From the morning till the night we need a 5 taka note most of the time. Iam taking a shower by buying two buckets of water. One bucket of water cost five taka. We need minimum of 15 taka for a short shower per person. I have four people in my family. I always try to spend less water as much as possible because then my junior one can take a bath with the rest of the water. When we go to use the toilet we need another 5 taka note each time.

It is acceptable for me to take a shower outside with two buckets of water. But I always feel upset to see my only daughter and wife using a public bathroom for taking showers or in the outside buying buckets of water. It is almost impossible for me to have our own bathroom because I have been living in this slum from the very beginning of my life. I drive a rickshaw and earn very little money. With that little money it has only been possible to survive the way we are surviving for the last 15 years. But I hope one day we will live in a home where at least there will be a bathroom and no more water crisis_Sujon Mia 30

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

“Refugees didn’t just escape a place. They had to escape a thousand memories until they’d put enough time and distance between them and their misery to wake to a better day.”



There are about 1 million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Since the 1970s Rohingya refugees have been coming to Bangladesh from Myanmar.


Sharing Nine real life stories of ‘Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh’

Featured first on my Facebook page: GMB Akash



My elderly mother cannot walk. I have carried her on my back for the past seven days. I had to carry her all the way. She lost weight and became lighter, but I became weaker after seven days of a desperate journey over muddy roads, through the jungle, crossing canals on foot.

We hadn’t eaten at all. I sometimes begged others with whom we fled for food, and they gave small portions of the little they had.

Some people carried rice with them, and mixed it with pond water and we were fed for a few days. But three days ago the rice was gone.

The Myanmar military killed my only brother, Azad, and set fire to our entire house. They took our cattle and everything we had.

I cannot carry my mother anymore. I am so tired now without food and water. We don’t know how long we will have to walk like this. I don’t know how long my mother will survive like this. I wish God would show his mercy upon us. – Rasid (25)



For the last seven days I have been moving with my children from one place to another. I was not able to feed them. Without food and water, they became ill and collapsed. Sometimes along the way, people would throw biscuits, but among such a crowd I was not able to catch them.

My son has had a fever for the last two nights. Before the fever he cried continuously, but now he neither cries, nor opens his eyes.

It rained heavily in the night. We were soaking wet. We had to sit in the water all night long. This is no place to be. _Raseda



My son, Sahed, continuously cries for milk, but I’m not able to breastfeed him. I have not eaten anything for three days. There is nothing coming from my breasts. I have survived only by drinking water from the roadside ponds.

I delivered my only child in the jungle three days ago. My contraction pains started while fleeing from our house. Shouting from the pain, I collapsed on the roadside. Three women who were also running came forward to help me. They covered me with banana leaves and helped me to give birth to my baby.

For the past two days we have been sitting in a rough, muddy road that runs through a rice field. We become wet from the rain and dry by the hot sun of the day. There are children and old people everywhere, screaming for food and water. There is nothing to eat. We’ve slept under the open sky for the last nine nights.

When our house was burned to ashes by the Myanmar military, I walked mile after mile with my nine-month pregnancy. Everything we carried was taken from us for the river crossing to Bangladesh. I lost track of my husband, Abdul Noor, when we fled. I have no idea if he is alive or not. Maybe he has already been killed by the Myanmar army and my son has already lost his father; just like he has lost his country. – Sajeda 25



The military came and burned our home. They burned everything. They killed my son and I lost my husband as we were fleeing. I came alone, traveling with others leaving their villages.

For the last seven days I have been walking day and night. I’m not able to move any longer. I am so tired, so exhausted! I have eaten nothing for the past two days, only drinking pond water.

We lost everything in Myanmar. I had gold and jewelry. We had domestic animals – six cows and ten goats. We had lots of chickens, but they were all burned when the military set fire to our house. I miss my son, my husband, our house, our animals, and the lives we had together. I have many wonderful memories.

If peace can be restored to Myanmar, and we can be safe and secure, my people will return. – Nuri Begum



We have nobody except God. I have been reciting the Quran the whole day after I left my country and I pray for my country and for my people. May Allah save us from this greatest misfortune. We did not want to leave our country. We loved our country and our country is like our mother. We had everything there. We had land; we had a fishing boat; we had cattle. We were happy!

But the Myanmar military killed my husband in front of us and I managed to escape with my two children in the middle of the night. I had no rice to eat for 5 days; my two children survived by eating leaves.

Life is not easy here in these makeshift camps; I need to wait in the line for hours under the hot sun for some relief food. But I feel safe here; my children can eat here. Thank you people of Bangladesh for saving our lives and giving us a shelter.  ­_ Roksara 30



I want some food. I haven’t eaten anything since yesterday evening. The Myanmar military killed my only son Hossain, who was the only person in our family able to earn a living.

They burned our homes and seized our cows – and everything we had. I fled for my life, along with fellow villagers. I came to Bangladesh at night, after eight days of walking. I only had some rice and lentils. But that’s now gone and we’re surviving by begging on the roadside.

I’m still looking for somewhere we can stay. I have been moving from place to place. I heard there is a small hill. I could stay up there. But I have no money. I have nothing with me. I need everything – household materials, and plastic sheeting for making a makeshift shelter.

Our lives in Myanmar were decent. We had land for agriculture, cattle, a vegetable garden, and chickens. We were self-sufficient. Now we have nothing – only God. – Sohura Khatun



It was eight at night. My family was having dinner together when the Myanmar military suddenly came and set fire to our home. They killed my husband and they killed my brother. The soldiers tore my sister’s clothes off, put a dagger to her throat and started to rape her. After they raped my sister they set her body on fire. It was horrific and we deeply suffered. I have no idea how I managed to escape that night with my children. I carried one of my children on my back and another one on my chest. I am seven-months pregnant.

It was so painful to walk on the muddy roads. I walked with my children barefoot several days to reach the border with Bangladesh. There was no water and no food. I have no idea how I managed my children and myself along with my seven-month pregnancy. It was raining and the roads were slippery in between the rice fields. I collapsed several times from exhaustion and leg pain. Every day we got wet with rain and dried in the sun. For several days I wore the same dress and even could not bathe. I had to walk for miles and could never take a restful break!

I saw many women delivering their babies on the roadside in the middle of the night. They were helpless; they were sick; there was no help! There was no food for days. _Nesaru



I don’t know why they killed my little sister Yasmin. She was just one month old. What had she ever done wrong? She was on my lap when the military broke into our room, grabbed her from me and threw her into the fire.

The Myanmar military shot my mother and father in front of us. They had come into the village and started killing people, and then burnt our homes. We fled to the jungle, but the military came and found us so we had to flee again. It took us seven days to get here by walking.

Before coming here, my elder sister Sanoyara used to play. She was fine, but now sometimes she’s afraid the military will come and kill both of us! – Januka (10)



The whole day we sat waiting for help. Since morning it had been raining nonstop. Both my eleven-month old son, Anis, and I were soaked and he shivered from the cold. Every day I came and sat with my little son on the roadside. Sometimes people would stop in their cars and offer food or money. Food and money meant we would survive another week.

Myanmar soldiers had pulled my husband by the hair. He held tight to their feet, pleading for forgiveness. But they killed him, and then set his body aflame in front of us.

I hid myself and my boy in the chicken pen. From there, I watched the soldiers cut my husband’s throat with a knife. I held tight to my child’s eyes so he couldn’t see. I can’t remember when I fainted. When I awoke, everything was burned to ashes.

Early the next morning we managed to escape with others from the village. It took four days to reach the border of Bangladesh. I carried my son on my back. We walked without food. It was painful to carry him without having food or water. Sometimes we drank from ponds and the streams. We ate leaves from the trees. We slept under the open sky. It rained constantly and it was difficult walking without shoes.

When we reached the river, I gave my gold earrings and chain to the boatman. It took two days and nights to reach the other side. It was rainy and cold at night. We were 25 people in our boat and we held onto each other for protection. There was nothing to eat and the water was rough. My son’s face was pale and he was horrified! He was holding me tightly all the time. I thought I could not save my son; just as I was not able to save my husband. We felt we were dying that night! _Fatema 19




For the last couple of weeks I have been in the Rohingya refugee camps. I have gone from dwelling to dwelling helping mainly women with children, older women and children who lost their parents. Nine hundred families received much-needed cash from me and some of my Facebook friends who contributed to this humanitarian effort and who have my heartfelt thanks. All of the Rohingya people that we were able to help send their blessings and gratitude to us for our generosity and kindness. Love and light to all of you! -GMB Akash


An Inspired Eye: 10 tips for encouraging Street Photography


Have some still moments in a life full of motions. Whatever you do, do for soul feeding. You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved. Instinct and the ability to anticipate are skills that a street photographer acquires with experience, and a lot of practice. The more you walk through streets with your camera, the more you will be able to tune with the world around you. As a street photographer you are constantly scanning your surroundings. No expression or gesture can escape from you, the challenge is to record that story in your frame.

10 tips for encouraging Street Photography

# How to Frame the fleeting moment

 You are going to get the best light in a certain moments of the day. You will be finding an interesting element to shoot once in a while. Mood of the people changes very fast, so as their expressions. The environment of a whole scenario can change in a few seconds. The action, reaction, speed, mood, light, energy. color every single detail is moving with time, and you need to capture in a fleeting moment. Freeze the moment before you miss it, you need to active in the street like a pro. You need to be very fast to frame what you want to capture. It can be anything but anyone can read your creativity once they see how you frame elements of a picture. Street Photography is all about capturing fleeting moments, moments of tension, happiness, anxiety, relaxation, fun, and any moments which have a meaning to you. The framing of any moment depends on how you are connecting different elements into one photograph. If those elements compliment the atmosphere of your street photo then it will create magic.



# Easy to feel, hard to express the feeling

Emotions are easy to feel. And easier to see. But it is not easy to forward or make someone feel the way you are feeling. Expressing the emotion of your subject to your viewers is a challenge. Try to be simple with your presentation. If the image is about drama, make it dramatic, if it is fun, bring the funniest thing, and if it is motion create the action. Do not overdo it.


# Stay curious, Stay thirsty

You need to have an urge to know the place you are shooting. If the place does not create an interest on you, do not waste your time there. Without curiosity no good work can be produced. The feeling of ‘I know this place’, ‘I know what is going to happen’; these thought can never bring any newness in your photograph. Instead feed yourself with this kind of thought ‘This can be very interesting’, ‘I need to go to close’. You need to be curious to experiment with your art, you have to be curious to see things from the detail, with different angels, by creating different framing. Always take horizontal and vertical both shots. Your energy will reflect on your photograph. The intensity of your work defines how critically you have worked, how deeply you look through your viewfinder.


 # Break the stereotype, there is no rule or role model

You already stored hundreds of image ideas on your mind. As soon as you start taking photograph unintentionally you may want to get the kind of shot you already put inside your head. When you become obsessed to get a certain kind of photographs you are blocking your vision, you stop seeing what you are able to see. It is important to check other photographers work. It can be interesting to get a few shots naturally that many of the photographers had done similarly but this is very important to have your own visuals. It is important to visualize images but to do that successfully you have to free your mind. There is no rule or role model. Release the tension; do not blur your vision of imagination. Challenge yourself at least once in a month to take a shot you never tried before. Get out of that   frame of mind of trying to make someone else happy.  Be wise enough to take challenge, you can fail, it can be hilarious but if you never tried something new how you will know what you love most.


# Pay attention to patterns, actions and the detail

Pay attention to pattern. Play with light and shadow. Try to capture detail. Make the image interesting. It can be anything. Street Photography is an everyday process of learning. The more you the more you understand your kind of style. No one can take similar picture of one scene at a time. An image is not about what a photographer is seeing but how the photographer is seeing. And adding some patterns, actions and detail will create uniqueness in your image.


 # know your camera and how it works, be technically sound

There is no specific camera for street photography, and gear alone will not make your street photography better. Do not stop because you only have a compact or a DSLR or smartphone. Pick up the camera you have and make a step in the right direction and start practicing. We need a camera to take photos and certain lenses for our own style. But beside camera also buy photography books and participate in photography workshop. If you do not have any technical knowledge of photography you will continue to do the same mistake without improving anything. It will go to vein if you invest everything for only gears not for knowledge. Do not become obsessed with gears. Keep one camera, one lens specifically. Take some time during every week to practice adjusting your camera controls, focusing distance and exposures. Be bold, and give yourself your first assignment on the street: discover the world right outside your front door.


 # The art of seeing the unseen

 When you will master the art of seeing, you will start to see things from your inner light. Street Photography is an art of observation. It is all about have the right of amount patience with energy to enjoy. It’s a representation of how you see things. Every moment has something beautiful, some amazing things that are happening all around you, you just need to open your heart to see that with your eyes. Try to capture what you feel not just what you see.


# How to overcome the fear, hesitation and confusion

Be curious. Travel to unknown and greet to strangers. Have some chat about the place and people. Only start to shoot when you can relate with the people and the place. Find your spirit, your true purpose! If you can really change your mindset then you will be able to change your life. Remember, true learning doesn’t happen in your home. Travel and travel a lot. Do not hesitate to go to an unknown alley. No one can be lost, every road has a destination. And if the road ends you can always come back. Shoot from distance and from close. Always remember, if you believe on yourself the world will believe on you.


# Photography vs income

Have you stopped listening to your favourite music because it is not bringing money to you? Have you stopped reading your favorite story books just because it is not bringing anything in your pocket? Have you resisted yourself to travel all your desired places only because there is no economic return? If not, then do not put your camera aside; do not stop taking images by thinking about money/ awards/ rewards or considering Photography as a tough career. What about pleasing your soul, embracing a creative you, seeing an unknown world, discovering a new you! Aren’t these beyond monetary worthy? Be a priceless photographer who is serving for own


# Make mistakes

I hope you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough. If you fail, pick yourself up, dusk off, learn and grow. This is how you can become great at anything by making mistakes.


Struggling to get good street photographs? Stay patient and trust your journey. What’s meant to be, will happen. You don’t need to find out meaning of everything. Trust your dream that is going to take you where you belong. In this journey you need to stand by your side, you need to be your best friend but also you need to be your best critic. Because it needs a lot of courage to dig into yourself and see what need to improve about you, to see what still have to achieve! Everyone can accept your flaws except you. You have to become a best version of yourself and work on yourself every day, every hour, every moment.


Upcoming Street Photography workshop with GMB Akash:

‘Street Life’ – A Street Photography Workshop with GMB Akash

Dates: 28th July (Friday) and 29th July (Saturday) 2017

Place: First Light Campus, Dhaka, Bangladesh

To apply email to akashimages@gmail or to make any queries call 01989052484. For detail visit: Street Photography with GMB Akash


Calling you to discover mesmerizing aspects of Street Photography. By having this experience you will master the art of seeing; you will start to see things from your inner light. You will be taught how being a photographer requires much more than just looking through the view finder and pressing your finger on a cold metal button. How a photographer needs to have psychological connectivity in every encounter of the journey. The fear, hesitation, lack of confidence will be replaced by empathy, assurance and vision. This two days is not just for discovering a photographer inside of you, it is going to unfold what you have already within you. Let’s come and experience of having some magical moments of walking in the streets of street photography.



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